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Summary

"He loads his head full of coal and diamonds shoot out of his finger tips. What a trick. The mole genius has left us with another digest. It's a full house - read 'em and weep." - Tom Waits

Inspired by D.H. Lawrence, Chekhov, and Hemingway, Bukowski's writing is passionate and extreme - his life was as weird and wild as the tales he wrote. His first work came from the 1960s Los Angeles underground press, and yet he became regarded as one of one of America's greatest poets and realist novelists.

This collection of Buk's grimmest diaries gives an insight into the noir and brutal Los Angeles that Bukowski observed and lived so well. He was a legend in his time: a madman, a recluse, a lover...tender, vicious...never the same. These are exceptional stories that came pounding out of his violent and depraved life - horrible and holy. You cannot listen to them and come away the same again.

Tales of Ordinary Madness includes iconic stories "A .45 to Pay the Rent" about drug dealing, fatherhood and love on the other side of the law, and "The Great Zen Wedding" in which Bukowski goes off the rails as best man at a wealthy Hollywood affair.

OBIE winner Will Patton (Remember the Titans, The Good Wife, Armageddon) recreates Bukowski in his visceral prime, along with every eye-popping character in his life, each adversary, lover, and stranger in a lost city.

©1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1983 Charles Bukowski

More about the author:

Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany and raised in Los Angeles, where he lived for 50 years. He published his first story in 1944, when he was 24, and began writing poetry at the age of 35. He died in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994 at the age of 73, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp.

©1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1983 Charles Bukowski (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Bukowski...a professional disturber of the peace...laureate of Los Angeles netherworld writes with crazy romantic insistence that losers are less phony than winners, and with an angry compassion for the lost." ( Newsweek)

What listeners say about Tales of Ordinary Madness

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classic Buk

Tales of Ordinary Madness is just classic Bukowski. Grimy, sleazy , grim and hilarious. The performance is great too. Well worth a credit. But the price Audible puts on books is ridiculous. Thieves. Shame on them.

3 people found this helpful

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Well Read

Sounds great, good voices, the right voice for bukowski could have even gone more whiskey/cigarette rough, even drunk and smoking continuously might have worked, missing lines, making bits up! Well....maybe not. NEED MORE BUKOWSKI -- NEED ALL BUKOWSKI -- NEED POETRY -- WILLING TO EXCHANGE MONEY AND CREDITS

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Bukowski at his gorgeous best

A wonderful array of filth, finesse and gutter poetry, spliced with the occasional swerve. Another essential piece of work from a truly great writer and human being.

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Soul-tourtured genius

Manic, mad and profoundly filthy. This was my first meaningful foray into the crusty mayhem of Bukowski. At times I ached inside, at others I was revolted. Brave, beyond brilliant, maybe the most honest writing I've ever encountered. I'm left touched, violated and in complete awe. Total genius.

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Brilliantly dark

Awesome narrator, he really made the madness feel alive. It was funny and dark and brilliant but mad. This is the first Bukowski book I've read. He's brilliantly insightful but bitterly sad. Very very much recommend this book.

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Misogyny makes decent prose unpalatable

Starts strong, great narration and some excellent prose. Does what is says on the tin APART from being intensely misogynistic. And by misogynistic I mean lines like “I planned to rape her” every few minutes.

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Unmissable experience

Happy to have bathed in the Bukowski world. A must listen to anyone with an open mind.

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  • Martin W
  • 09-01-18

Patton nails this.

The sample audio was way out of context and made the reading sound off. But finally I bought this and found that Patton knows his Bukowski. I never did believe the snideness that some narrators give Bukowski's writing. Recordings of Bukowski himself don't have that tone of forced irony. He means what he's saying. Patton gets it and gives us a lively but straightforward interpretation. I'm getting the whole Bukowski by Patton set.

13 people found this helpful

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  • CalEd
  • 18-09-19

Bukowski by Will Patton is my morning coffee

Will really gives a unique tone to Bukowski's writing, only Bukowski would do better reading his work. it has become one of my favorite things to do on long drives and when at home while drinking a glass of whiskey and smoking a cigar.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-09-20

Not a good use of a credit.

I’ve been doing audiobooks for a few years now and have come across some very good ones, average ones, then ones like this. The narration, Will Patton, was excellent as he always does when reading books. The story leaves a lot to be desired. I found much of the language and sordid details of sex, rape, and crime unnecessary and filthy to the point of disgust. I had a very hard time finishing this one and if not for the narrator I’d have given up 2 hours into the book. This one was hard to follow, jumps around all over the place, and just became flat nasty with the language and descriptions of what was going on. I WOULD NOT recommend this book to anyone I personally know. There are way too many good ones out there to choose from.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Billy White
  • 29-11-18

Wonderful

The narrator is astounding. If you've read this before you won't be wasting a cent by listening.

2 people found this helpful

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  • EvilShredder
  • 06-08-18

Just a case of ordinary madness

Will Patton is a wonderful narrator. He sounds like how I think Buk should sound. 1950s noirish in a smoked filled bar. If you like Buk's short stories this is a no brainer. Patton does not disappoint.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carol
  • 07-02-18

Riveting stories and "in your face" revelations

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, because it is written and narrated by masters of storytelling

What did you like best about this story?

a look into the life on Skid Row... and of Charles Bukowski during the 60's

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

He is the most spell binding narrator I have ever heard.. his acting and inflections and passion seethes in each character. I cannot find words to praise his reading ability. I will listen to him read the phone book!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

what it is like to be an "Alcoholic"....

Any additional comments?

bought every book I could on this author and this narrator

1 person found this helpful

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  • DanielandElizabeth Mata
  • 24-12-20

Repetitive

I will star out by saying he is good at writing. However he is not for me. After about the first 2 hours you begin to realize all the stories are pretty much the same thing. it is a repetitive loop of rambling, obscenity, sex, rape, and alcohol abuse.

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  • mike
  • 02-12-20

Dated

Dated ,opinionated with lots of vulgar language. Says a lot about the mindset of the author. If your sensibilities are not easily injured then it is something different to listen to that you may enjoy.

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  • M. Hernandez
  • 18-10-20

Fanboy of Charles B

I love just about all of Charles work. So I’m a little bias. The reading gets better as you listen and now I’m used to the narrator Will Patton.

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  • william d johnson
  • 09-07-20

amazing

as always a great performance by a once in a generation writer. thanks for the narration